At least 163 cases of abduction in 8 regions of Ukraine, says activist

Civilians, militaries, former militaries but also active members of the community, i.e. city mayors, village heads, local journalists, activists and human rights defenders have been targets for Russian abductions, Tetiana Pechonchyk, the head of the "Zmina" Human Rights Center told TVP World.

As Ms Pechonchyk put it, there were “at least 163 cases of abduction in eight regions of Ukraine”, albeit “the truth is that we don’t know how many people were deported from Ukraine. According to the latest data from the UNHCR, there are 650,000 Ukrainian refugees in Russia. According to Russians themselves, there are 1,000,000 Ukrainian refugees on the territory of Russia including 183,000 thousand children.”

On Friday Ms Pechonchyk presented during a conference in Warsaw a report outlining the 163 cases of abductions. Taking place in a total of eight regions, including the newly liberated ones, that is, the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, the abductions are a reaction to stark resilience on the part of the Ukrainian community to the Russian invasion.

But it is not just kidnapping. “In many instances, people are tortured, some until death” in a bid to curtail the Ukrainians’ resilience, Ms Pechonchyk said.

Almost half of the abductions are perpetrated against representatives of local governments. By doing so the Russian invaders want to scare them into cooperation.

Forced Russian drafting of Ukrainian citizens


“This is another war crime,” Ms Pechonchyk said, referring to the Russian practice of forced drafting Ukrainian citizens to serve in the Russian army. She noted that this practice started as early as 2014 following the Russian annexation of Crimea.

“We see that Russians have a shortage in human resources and human capacity so they desperately try to push people in the occupied territories to fight for their interest.”

To learn more about the phenomenon and the routes used by Russia to deport Ukrainians, click the video above.